Virtual conference explores artificial intelligence in a post-COVID world

May 11, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On May 13, the Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence hosted AI in a Post-COVID World, a virtual conference that brought together experts from a variety of disciplines to discuss how artificial intelligence has aided in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

World-class researchers, industry professionals and nonprofit organizations discussed how AI research has responded in the face of COVID-19, how it has changed, and how it is likely to change in the future — as well as the role that AI researchers can expect to play in that change.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been significant research activity in the AI community to tackle the pandemic, such as machine learning-based forecasting models for COVID and optimal healthcare resource utilization strategies," said Amulya Yadav, PNC Career Development Assistant Professor of Information Sciences and Technology and one of the conference organizers. “One year later, this conference will introspect on the development of AI tools that has already happened and that can still happen in the future.”

A talk on Penn State’s safety and mitigation efforts began the program, followed by a keynote delivered by Milind Tambe, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Research in Computation and Society at Harvard University and director for AI for Social Good at Google Research India.

A second keynote was given by Roozbeh Sadeghian, associate professor of analytics at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and member of the Pennsylvania COVID Task Force on Rural Health. Sadeghian’s talk reported on the task force’s efforts and highlight a road map to an AI-based approach to prepare for the post-COVID-19 community.

Afternoon panels discussed topics including AI approaches for COVID-19, synergistic AI and government response to the pandemic, and the funding landscape after COVID-19.

The panels included a number of international experts, including Penn State faculty Justin Silverman, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences Co-Hire and member of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics; Nita Bharti, Huck Early Career Professor and assistant professor of biology; Matthew Ferrari, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Huck Career Development Professor and associate professor of biology; and Sophie Penney, director, foundation relations.

The Penn State Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence, which launched last year, promotes high-impact, transformative AI research and development, while encouraging the consideration of social and ethical implications in all such efforts. As a result, the center supports a broad range of activities from foundational research to the application of AI in all areas of human endeavor.

To learn more about the "AI in a Post-COVID World" conference, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 29, 2021